Talk:Tigrinya language

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I want to know more about the Tigrawot.[edit]

I'd very much like to learn more about the Tigrawot.

I'm studying Ethiopian/Abyssinian ethnic groups, and African ethnic groups in general. Gringo300 08:44, 13 Jun 2005 (UTC)

what the hell?[edit]

What the hell is up with this title? In the first place, I've never seen an "n" on the end - I've seen it as Tigrigna and Tigrinya, but never "Tigrignan." And if the spelling with the "y" is the principal one in English, shouldn't the article be there? john k 06:45, 2 August 2005 (UTC)

I believe 'Tigrigna' is the most common spelling. And you're right about that final 'n', so I've moved the article to Tigrigna language. — mark 07:54, 2 August 2005 (UTC)

why?[edit]

Why would the name of the language be given as ትግሪኛ in the info-box, but as ትግርኛ in the body of the article? The difference is in the 3rd character: ሪ versus ር. Just curious. —IslandGyrl 18:45, 4 September 2005 (UTC)

I guess this is an error in the info-box. Have a look at the Swedish [Tigrinya Page] where the name of the language appears both in the top graphic and in the navigation bar. It is always written with the syllables TEE-GEE-REE-NYA (ትግርኛ), not TEE-GEE-RI-NYA (ትግሪኛ). But I don't know the language for myself.

Countries[edit]

I'm wondering about the list of countries where this is spoken. For example, what's the consensus on which countries should be listed in the infobox? At minimum it would be Eritrea and Ethiopia, but if it includes Israel, shouldn't it include the other countries to which Tigrinya speakers have emigrated? (This would include the United States and Canada as well as a lot of European countries.) Or is Israel a different case from these, because it's where (almost) an entire people (the Beta Israel) have relocated? (Though I thought Amharic was the dominant language among Beta Israel.) -- Gyrofrog (talk) 17:23, 4 November 2005 (UTC)

I'd be in favor of leaving out Israel (and other countries where Tigrinya-speaking exiles have settled). Most of the Beta Israel are in fact Amharic speakers, I believe, so it's not a case of a whole people speaking this language having been relocated somewhere else. — MikeGasser (talk) 20:07, 4 January 2006 (UTC)

Proposed split: Tigrinya (ethnicity)[edit]

When a separate article for Tigrawot (i.e., Tigrinya speakers, collectively) appeared, it was listed on WP:AFD and the consensus was to redirect the article here. But I do think there should be a separate article about the Tigrinya people (see also Amhara (ethnicity), Oromo, Gurage, Afar (ethnicity) etc.). I think the article should be named "Tigrinya (ethnicity)" or similar, rather than "Tigrawot" as attempted previously. (I'm not sure whether the term "Tigrawot" itself was ever verified to be in wide use; the handful of people I asked (for what that's worth) were completely unfamiliar with the term.) I don't know that this is much of a "split" from this article as there really isn't anything here about the ethnicity, but since the previous attempt was redirected here I thought this is where I should mention it (I think I will also list this under Wikipedia:List of missing Africa topics). Thanks, -- Gyrofrog (talk) 20:23, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

I just edited the first section of the article, making some changes based on what I know. I avoided Tigrawot and changed what was said about Christian Tigrinya speakers in Eritrea, who can't be called Tigrinya since it's a language (given the suffix), not an ethnicity. I also included a couple of references to Tigray region, which is where most of the speakers of the language live, after all. Perhaps an article on the Tigrean people would be in order? I think it would be difficult to write one on Tigrinya speakers collectively, but I wouldn't know enough to take on either of these ethnicity articles, in any case. -- MikeGasser (talk) 22:17, 6 January 2006 (UTC)
Okay here are the facts for those who are a bit confused about this issue. Tigrinya speaking people in Eritrea are called Tigrinya; while Tigrinya speakers in Ethiopia are called Tigrean. - Mesfin
That does get confusing, seeing how there's also a Tigre language, whose speakers are presumably called "Tigreans," though (correct me if I'm wrong) these are not the same as the Ethiopian Tigreans (who speak Tigrinya). At any rate, there is now a short article for Tigray people. -- Gyrofrog (talk) 22:47, 12 January 2006 (UTC)
The people who speak the Tigre language, are not normally called "Tigreans", they are called "Tigre". It is pronounced more like: Tig-grey. This is opposed to the province in Ethiopia which is pronounced: "Teeg-rye". Also this is different then the Tigrinya speakers in Eritrea who are called simply "Tigrinya". The word "Tigreans" is normally reserved for the Tigrinya speakers in Ethiopia, but I suppose that it could also be used for the Tigrinya speakers in Eritrea too. The problem is that most Tigrinya speakers in Eritrea don't like to be lumped with Tigrinya speakers in Ethiopia. - Mesfin


There is an article for the people at Tigray people, and while it's still small, I've gotten a basic outline of an article started. Help in fleshing it out would be greatly appreciated.

Yom 22:01, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

Loanwords[edit]

User:Settit added a line about loanwords from Italian in the introduction. This really belongs under dialects, currently discussed under Speakers, or a separate section on Lexicon that doesn't exist yet. The proportion of Italian loanwords almost certainly differs for the Tigrinya of Eritrea and Tigray, but we need examples; anybody know any? Also if we're going to have something on loanwords, other languages, such as Arabic and Amharic, should also be mentioned. -- MikeGasser (talk) 19:04, 26 March 2006 (UTC)

I noticed and reverted that. I know timatim is the word for tomato in Amharic (and probably Tigrinya as well), but that's unlikely to be an Italian loanword (pommodora, right?). There are a couple, but I'm not sure if it's significant enough to warrant mention. Only the northern Eritrean Tigrinya dialects would have enough loanwords to be mentioned, probably. Mekina (long i and e is pronounced "uh") is the word for "car" in Amharic, which is probably a loanword. All in all, there aren't very many. Probably not more than Arabic loanwords in English.
Yom 03:44, 27 March 2006 (UTC)
The word for Tomato in Tigrigna is "Komedaro" and the word for car is "Mekina". Also I must point out that Tigrigna has many Italian loanwords ('Bambino', or 'Ciao' for example), this is most strongly seen for those who live in Asmara (an 'Asmarino'). Mesfin 19:58, 27 March 2006 (UTC)

italians loanwords should not be taken into the consideration that italian words are infact a part of the tigrigna language.every one knows a word like lucci or geza is an italian word and is commonly used in eritrea but the tigrigna words for them will be "berhan" and "bayt",just like in other countries when people adapt the word ok and hi from english.if u walk through asmara at the moment you can hear people speaking tegrenya with loan words from italian,arabic english and that doesnt mean it is the "official loan words",remember eritrean tigrigna is the purest tigrigna when spoken probarly just look at the latest tigrigna eritrean dictionary and compare it with the tigray ethiopian dictionary,it makes the tigray dictionary look like a magazine.although recently tigrigna has officially adopted alot of loan words from tigre language hence tigre has alot of geez words that isnt used by tigrigna. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Yaya7 (talkcontribs) 03:12, 18 April 2008 (UTC)

Beta Israel[edit]

Yom wonders (in History) whether any of the Beta Israel speak Tigrinya. I do too. When I made significant changes to this article, I left that in place, but I don't know where it comes from. The article on Beta Israel says they speak Amharic, which is what I thought. I suggest we get rid of this unless somebody can find verification for this claim. -- MikeGasser (talk) 05:14, 30 March 2006 (UTC)

From what I've read on the Beta Israel, they speak Amharic and not Tigrinya; so Bender (1976), Mann & Dalby (1987), Quirin (1998), and Sommer (1992) all speak of Amharic. (See an unrelated discussion for the full references). I believe SIL carried out some sociolinguistic surveys in the area recently, so maybe something could be found there. — mark 07:52, 30 March 2006 (UTC)
SIL never did a survey on Beta Israel people and their language. So no help from that side. Anyway, just judging from the location where the Beta Israel lived before moving to Israel - that is around Gonder - there is no reason to believe that any of them spoke Tigrinya as a first language. -- Landroving Linguist 18:19, 3 February 2007 (UTC)
Actually, I've since found out there are some Tigrinya speakers. There's a community in Shire, Ethiopia in Tigray, as well as a lesser known community in Wolqayt (not sure about the second one, this is from memory). — ዮም | (Yom) | TalkcontribsEthiopia 03:54, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

yom those beta you speaking about are not native speakers i mean if thats the case i think i could say there are more yemeni's that could speak tigrenya than beta. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Yaya7 (talkcontribs) 02:57, 21 April 2008

Velar fricatives[edit]

Is there a reason why the velar fricatives are shown in brackets in the consonant chart? If so, please could someone add an explanation in the text. Gailtb 02:21, 27 April 2006 (UTC)

An explanation is given under Tigrinya#Allophones. yhever 04:45, 27 April 2006 (UTC)

Thanks. I missed that. It doesn't say so, but I suppose the same applies to the labialized velars, does it? Since it's a phoneme chart and they're allophones, I'll take them out of the chart. Gailtb 07:23, 27 April 2006 (UTC)

Actually I included the velar fricatives in the chart because even though they're not phonemes, they are distinguished in the writing system and in various papers on Tigrinya that use nominally phonemic transcription, for example, Leslau's book, which is a pretty standard reference. As for the labialized velars, they should probably be considered phonemes. -- MikeG (talk) 04:06, 28 April 2006 (UTC)
I hope what I've done is ok with you. It seemed to me to be confusing to include non-phonemes in a chart of phonemes. Also using parentheses with 2 different meanings in the chart was confusing - I presume /v/ is actually a phoneme, although very limited. I listed the velar fricatives just above the chart so that the information about the transcription is all together. Gailtb 08:27, 28 April 2006 (UTC)
Yes, that seems OK. (Yes, /v/ is a phoneme.) By the way, I believe you replaced all of the apostrophes in the ejectives with another character? Which one is it? (So I can use it for the rest of the grammar (I'm working on Verbs).) -- MikeG (talk) 12:43, 28 April 2006 (UTC)
I don't think I replace any apostrophes for ejectives. I changed the English glosses to be in brackets rather than with single quotation marks because it looked confusing, eg ይሰርቕ yǝsärrǝx' 'he steals' Gailtb 13:19, 28 April 2006 (UTC)
OK, sorry. I misunderstood. — MikeG (talk) 01:30, 29 April 2006 (UTC)


Verbs[edit]

Regarding your recent additions Mike, I have a couple minor points I want to make sure are right. Under verbs, section derivation, subsection function, I noticed you added this:

  • መስኮት ሰቢሩ mäskot säbiru 'He broke a window'; {sbr}, no prefix, no internal change, ACTIVE
  • መስኮት (ብተኽሉ) ተሰቢሩ mäskot (bǝtäxlu) -säbiru 'a window was broken (by Teklu)'; {sbr}, tä-, no internal change, PASSIVE
  • መስኮት ሰባቢሩ mäskot säbabiru 'He repeatedly broke windows'; {sbr}, no prefix, reduplication, FREQUENTATIVE
  • መስኮት ኣስቢሩ mäskot a-sbiru 'He caused a window to be broken (by somebody else)'; {sbr}, a-, no internal change, CAUSATIVE

Two questions. One, did you mean to put säbärä instead of säbiru (like in Amharic, and what you put later)? I'm not aware of long "i"s in conjugation (and -u is usually for plural...).

Secondly, should "mäskot" be standalone like that? It doesn't take a modifier to show that it is a direct object (like -ǝn/@n is used in Amharic) and not the subject? Are you leaving it out for simplification, does it not exist, or did you miss this? Thanks for your help.

Yom 19:37, 12 May 2006 (UTC)

säbiru is the gerund of säbärä, much like säbro in Amharic. In Tigrinya, the gerund can be used as an independent verb, without an auxiliary verb. yhever 00:14, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
Right. I used the "gerund(ive)" in these examples because it is the natural independent clause past tense. -- MikeG (talk) 02:56, 14 May 2006 (UTC)
What about the status of "mäskot" as a direct object? Is it shown somehow (e.g. -ǝn/@n)?
Yom 00:58, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
Well, I don't know much Tigrinya, but I think the following examples might help:
[Mt. 5:1] bəzuḥ həzbi məs rə'əyä (...) "when he saw the crowd ..."
[Mt. 2:10] nä-ti koxob məs rə'əyəwwo "when they saw the star ..."
A direct object without an article is not marked, whereas a direct object with a definite article is marked with nə-.
Also in Amharic, a direct object is followed by the suffix -(ə)n when it is definite, but it is usually unmarked when it is indefinite. It is true, nevertheless, that in some varieties of Amharic the direct object is always marked with -(ə)n, even when it is indefinite.
See: Olga Kapeliuk, "L'emploi de la marque de l'accusatif -n avec le complément d'objet direct en amharique", in: Israel Oriental Studies 2 (1972), pp. 183-214.
yhever 18:28, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
Yes, I left off the accusative marker in these examples because it is not normally used with indefinite direct objects (see Leslau, Documents Tigrigna, p. 42). -- MikeG (talk) 02:56, 14 May 2006 (UTC)

Nouns[edit]

"A Tigrinya noun is treated as either masculine or feminine. However, most inanimate nouns do not have a fixed gender." The latter directly contradicts the linked "Tigrinya grammar" article. I have no idea which is right, but someone who knows should clear this up. Mcswell (talk) 03:03, 12 December 2012 (UTC)

Size[edit]

I noticed this article has grown quite large (48 kb - thanks a lot Mike!). What do you guys think about splitting off the grammar section into its own article and having a smaller section here?

Yom 16:10, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

I was wondering about this too. There's lots more to add at this level of detail. I guess it would be a good idea to do what you're suggesting. -- MikeG (talk) 21:00, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

Pronouns[edit]

I just noticed this, but are you sure the pronouns are right, Mike? I think the ones you recorded might be (Hamasien) dialectal. I've never seen the versions you've listed for you (m. & f.). I know them as atta (m. - maybe attä? - cp. Amh. antä) and atti (cp. Amh. anči). I'm guessing this is Tigrayan Tigrinya.

ዮም(Yom)Leave a message 18:35, 29 May 2006 (UTC)

No, I'm sure of these and sure they apply across dialects. atta, etc. are the vocative forms; I mentioned them in the second paragraph under the pronoun table. They're for calling people or getting their attention. — MikeG (talk) 18:44, 29 May 2006 (UTC)

Oh, okay. Thanks for clearing that up.

ዮም(Yom)Leave a message 01:43, 30 May 2006 (UTC)

Region[edit]

Hey someone messed up in the region spoken in Tigrinya. THE TIGRE DONT SPEAK TIGRINYA!! —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 69.197.230.14 (talkcontribs) 22:19, 30 May 2006 (UTC)

Please sign your comments, 69.197.230.14 (a Username would also be helpful). The article doesn't say that the Tigre speak Tigrinya. It says that the two should not be confused. Also, Tigray is different from Tigre. Tigray is pronounced Tigr-"eye" (like the English word "eye" used to see or English "rye," a type of grain), rather than Tigr-é (pronounced like the sound "Eh" in Canadian English, or like the vowell it "bet/biet" meaning "house" - Hamis form).
Also, Tigrinya is the name of the people in Eritrea (but not Ethiopia), but it is not the name of the place where they live in Eritrea. They're native to Hamasien, Akkele Guzay, and Serae, but can be found throughout the country (like the situation with the Amhara in Ethiopia).
ዮም(Yom)Leave a message 23:47, 30 May 2006 (UTC)

Pronunciation[edit]

For completion, please could someone just add a stress mark to the native IPA pronunciation? Thanks. Gailtb 16:30, 4 June 2006 (UTC)

Stress is not significant in Tigrinya (or other ES languages), and there is probably not much agreement on where it should be for particular words (which is not to say there is no stress at all of course). In any case, it's not marked in any of the standard references on the language. — MikeG (talk) 19:27, 4 June 2006 (UTC)
Oh, thanks. Sorry, I hadn't read that bit of the page properly. Gailtb 04:02, 5 June 2006 (UTC)

Tigrinya and Ge'ez[edit]

Cluckbang just added the claim the Tigrinya, unlike Amharic, is a direct descendant of Ge'ez. From what I know, this is pretty controversial (and I first thought of reverting it, but then decided this ought to be discussed here). One position would have Tigre perhaps descended from Ge'ez but all other Ethiopian Semitic (or whatever we end up calling them) languages descending from unwritten sister languages of Ge'ez (as happened with Latin and the Romance languages; that is, none of them actually descended from what we call Latin today). Another position would have none of them (including Tigre) directly descending from Ge'ez. (Sorry, I don't have references handy; I think others know them though.) Unfortunately this issue has all sorts of cultural/political implications, as you can see from the discussion in Semitic Languages. You have to be very careful what you claim. In any case, any claim like this needs a citation, I'd say. — MikeG (talk) 02:59, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

External links[edit]

Yom, this one among those you deleted has some nice resources for learners of Tigrinya:

Don't you think the article should include such things? (I included the others so that people could hear what the language sounds like.) — MikeG (talk) 23:01, 18 September 2006 (UTC)

I would vote to keep them and maybe add Awate.com too. However, the one you have pointed out is definatly necessary.Mesfin 09:25, 19 September 2006 (UTC)

Number of speaker in table not corroborated by given sources[edit]

The number of speakers stated in the table may be true, but i don't see it in either of the three sources mentioned to support this number. Please extract from these sources the exact quote/quotes you rely on and quote them in the footnotes, or use another number+source, like ~4.5 million speakers (1998) according to the Ethnologue language card. Itayb 16:00, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

The number is from the addition of the figures for Ethiopia (~4.5 million from Tigrayan population) and Eritrea (approximately 1/2 of the 4.5 million Eritreans). — ዮም | (Yom) | TalkcontribsEthiopia 03:22, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
Based on the source cited I get ~3.2 million Tigrayan population in Ethiopia, not 4.5 million. Could you tell me what precise calculation you performed to arrive at this figure? I also do not see any information cited that would support a conclusion that half the Eritrean population spoke the language. The closest to this we have is that half the population is a member of the Tigrinya ethnic group, but the two are not necessarily equilavent. JulesH 09:59, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
4,335,000 is the estimated population for Tigray region in 2005 by the Central Statistical Agency of Ethiopia. A similar estimate can be gotten from the percentage of the Ethiopian population that's Tigrayan (6.2% according to the 1994 census) and the most recent population estimate, which is 75 million (2005) according to the CSA again. Wrt Eritrea, the 1/2 figure I was referring to was the fact that 50% of the population of Eritrea is Tigrinya (i.e. Tigrinya-speaking, of the Tigrinya ethnic group) according to the CIA factbook, which is the only source on ethnic data in the country. — ዮም | (Yom) | TalkcontribsEthiopia 21:36, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
On what source do you base the conclusion that the entire population of the Tigray region speaks the language?
Applying an out-of-date percentage to current population estimates is clearly original research, so we can't use any figure derived that way.
What source do you have that 'Tigrinya ethnic group' in the CIA classification implies speaking the language? Without such sources, I'm pretty sure this entire line of research cannot be included here. JulesH 11:46, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
Tigrinya is in fact the name of the language and has only recently started to be used as an ethnonym in Eritrea because there was no other commonly accepted name for native speakers of Tigrinya. This "ethnic group" is in fact defined by the language spoken. The -nya (-ña) in "Tigrinya" is a suffix used for the names of languages: ingliziña እንግሊዝኛ = "English language" (not the English ethnic group). — MikeG (talk) 14:22, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
On the homogeneity of Tigray region, see, for example, this linguistic map at Ethnologue. There are no significant linguistic minorities in this region. — MikeG (talk) 14:27, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
This "ethnic group" is in fact defined by the language spoken. According to Dr. Abegaz's account of the 1994 Ethiopic census([1], Table 1, p. 3), 6.2% of the population of Ethiopia identified themselves as belonging to the Tigrawi ethnic group, whereas only 6.1% of the population speaks Tigrawi as mother tongue. (i assume "Tigrawi"="Tigrinya"). Itayb 14:55, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
No, "Tigraway" refers to an ethnicity in Ethiopia, native to the region of Tigray, almost all of whom speak Tigrinya (a language) as their mother tongue. (I have no idea why it would be spelled "Tigrawi"; I've never seen this before.) In Eritrea speakers of Tigrinya are called "Tigrinya", not "Tigraway". I was talking about Eritrea, not Ethiopia. There is no agreed-on way to refer to speakers of Tigrinya in the two countries, other than "Tigrinya speakers". The point of all this is that it's safe to assume that half of the population of Eritrea are native speakers of Tigrinya (many more speak Tigrinya as a second languages). — MikeG (talk) 18:50, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
MikeG, i hold your contributions to the Tigrinya language article in high esteem; you've almost created it single handedly. As for me, i have no expertise in this field whatsoever. Hence, i tend to believe your claims. Nevertheless, in order to incorporate them into the main article they should be attributable to an external, reliable source. Your personal knowledge - solid as it is - is not good enough. Please, just state your sources, and i'll keep my peace.(BTW, i find the map you've linked to illuminating, but hardly clear enough to allow drawing any strong conclusion.) Itayb 00:14, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
I don't have references to the proportion of Tigrayans (Tigraway) who speak Tigrinya (or time to look for it at the moment). Yes, this is my personal knowledge. For the meaning of -iñña in Tigrinya (as a suffix for languages, not ethnicities), we could use Leslau (1941), p. 20 (see the Reference list for the article). — MikeG (talk) 14:22, 4 March 2007 (UTC)
Thanks, MikeGasser. :) Itayb 20:59, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

National Scout Association of Eritrea[edit]

Can someone who speaks Tigrinya render "National Scout Association of Eritrea" and "Be Prepared", the Scout Motto, into Tigrinya? Thanks! Chris 14:34, 7 August 2007 (UTC)

Transliteration for phrases[edit]

It would help if someone could take the time to write the expressions in the Phrases section using the transliteration conventions that we used in the rest of this article. It's pretty confusing as is since people are somehow left to figure out that hh, for example, represents the sound that is transliterated as ḥ in the rest of the article. There are also a number of mistakes/inconsistencies, especially in the use of vowel letters. MikeG (talk) 23:11, 17 November 2009 (UTC)

Merhaba[edit]

I realize this is not really germane, but I can't figure out where else to ask; can someone who really knows their Tigrinya tell me: Why is it that some Tigrinya phrasebooks say to use "Merhaba" for "Welcome", while others say to use something variously transliterated "nkwa'ë bdehhan metsa'ka(m)/ki(f)" or "Engai dehan mesakum" (which I take to be the same phrase using vastly different respelling systems)? Are these synonymous phrases, or dialectal variants, or do they mean different things, or is "Merhaba" a foreign loanword that is displacing the indigenous expression, or what? --Haruo (talk) 01:27, 6 February 2010 (UTC)

        Merhaba is arabic, so a muslim may great you like this.--Altaye (talk) 14:43, 29 January 2013 (UTC)

Orientation[edit]

While most people will probably guess that Ge'ez is read left to right, it seems that information belongs in this article somewhere, especially if connections to Arabic or Hebrew are drawn. --speedfranklin (talk) 13:51, 11 December 2010 (UTC)

Translation request[edit]

Hi,

I've been trying to keep up to date with the 2011 eruption of Nabro from all the various media sources. And I've run into 3 bits that are presumably in Tigrinya - particularly 2 TV clips of the lava flow - it would be great if they could be translated (or even roughly translated) into english. The external links to the you tube clips are here Talk:2011_Nabro_eruption#Lack_of_coverage I hope you can help. EdwardLane (talk) 10:42, 27 June 2011 (UTC)

Merge the Language Articles[edit]

In this wikipedia we have 3 Articles for this language: Tigre Language, Tigrinya and Tigrinya Language. All should be merged under 1 article headline. --Altaye (talk) 14:38, 29 January 2013 (UTC)